Business analytics provider Verint, a Gartner contact center Magic Quadrant leader, plans to acquire customer service provider Kana Software for $514 million. It's the first big acquisition of 2014, but not likely to be the last as enterprises look to combine customer experience tools with their core offerings.

Customer Analytics

Verint specializes in tools like workforce optimization and voice of the customer (VOC) analytics. By bringing in Kana Software's customer engagement tools, Verint can add context and relevancy to its analytics, R "Ray" Wang, principal analyst, founder and chairman at Constellation Research wrote in a blog post.

"This combination is a key step in moving from systems of engagement to systems of mass personalization at scale," he wrote.

Verint has about 10,000 customers around the world, and crunching all that data into the kinds of insights customers need should be enhanced by the Kana Software offering. Multichannel customer experience tools across social, mobile, cloud and contact centers could allow Verint's existing tools to provide more feedback, and leverage unstructured data, Wang added.

"It's a channel play and it's a customer experience management play," Wang said in an interview with CMSWire. "All of the customer care tools have to be connected to analytics, and Verint customers could really benefit from this once Kana gets integrated. We've been getting calls all morning from Kana customers."

Many of Kana's customers don't likely use Verint, so people had questions about Kana's future, Wang said. On the Verint side, customers seemed excited about what Kana was bringing in this deal, he added.

Kana will be purchased from private equity firm Accel-KKR, and its 900 customers should benefit from a financially stronger parent, Wang wrote. The company reported revenue of $848 million in fiscal 2013, and Kana is expected to generate $140 to $150 million, Verint reported in a statement. The deal is expected to be completed in Verint's first fiscal quarter ending April 30.

Learning Opportunities

"We believe acquiring KANA would allow Verint to offer a holistic customer engagement strategy powered by Actionable Intelligence, providing significant value for our customers and partners," Dan Bodner, Verint CEO said in a statement.

Kana Software Acquired by Verint for $514 Million

Detailing Customer, Workforce and Service Interactions

As more and more businesses move their core offerings online, analyzing how customers, employees and partners interact with various properties is a booming business. That's where companies like Verint and one of its main competitors NICE Systems come in.

An area where these company's specialize is  contact center systems, a segment that is now catching up to other parts of the digital customer journey. Verint could use Kana's Web and Agent Experience offerings to help add more context to those contact center interactions, for example. Making contact center interactions more engaging would be one way to do that. Agents too often don't have as much information as they need when talking to a given customer, but when they do, it can make for much improved customer experiences.

Wang posted a Twitter message that this would be a big week for customer experience acquisitions, so it will be interesting to see if any of them can top the $514 million price tag of this buy.